The Info List - Wonsan

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Wŏnsan (Korean pronunciation: [wʌn.san]), previously known as Wŏnsanjin (元山津), Port Lazarev, and Gensan (元山), is a port city and naval base located in Kangwŏn Province, North Korea, along the eastern side of the Korean Peninsula, on the Sea of Japan
Sea of Japan
(East Sea) and the provincial capital. The port was opened by occupying Japanese forces in 1880. Before the 1950–1953 Korean War, it fell within the jurisdiction of the then South Hamgyŏng province, and during the war it was the location of the Blockade of Wŏnsan. The population of the city was estimated at 329,207 in 2013. Notable people from Wŏnsan include Kim Ki Nam, diplomat and Secretary of the Korean Workers' Party. The city has several major factories. In 2013, it was announced that Wŏnsan would be converted into a summer destination with resorts and entertainment.[1] Having spent his childhood years there, Kim Jong Un
Kim Jong Un
has expressed significant interest in further developing the region, with the construction of new infrastructure such as Kalma Airport, a dual-use civilian international airport and military proving ground. A state corporation, the Wonson Zone Development Corporation has been established with feasibility studies for a wide variety of hotels, commercial, and industrial development.[2]


1 Name 2 Geography 3 Administrative divisions 4 Climate 5 History

5.1 City centre redevelopment 5.2 Provincial borders

6 Economy 7 Transportation 8 Media 9 Education 10 Sports 11 Tourism

11.1 Wonsan
Tourist Zone

12 People from Wŏnsan 13 Sister cities 14 See also 15 References 16 Further reading 17 External links

Name[edit] Wonsan
has also been known as Yonghunghang, Yuan shan in China, Genzan or Gensan in Japan, and Port Lazareva or Port Lazareff in Russia. Geography[edit]

Wonsan, on the East Coast of North Korea, opposite Pyongyang

Wŏnsan's area is 269 square kilometres (104 sq mi). It is located in Kangwŏn Province, on the westernmost part of the Sea of Japan
(East Sea of Korea) and the east end of the Korean peninsula's neck. Mt. Changdok (Changdok-san) and Mt. Nap'al (Nap'al-san) are located to the west of the city. More than 20 small islands flank Wŏnsan's immediate coastal area, including Hwangt'o Island and Ryŏ Island. Wŏnsan is considered an excellent natural port location. Kŭmgang-san mountain is located near Wŏnsan. Administrative divisions[edit] Wŏnsan serves as the administrative centre of Kangwŏn Province. The City of Wŏnsan (Wŏnsan-si) is divided into 45 tong (neighbourhoods) and 14 ri (villages):

Changch'on-dong Changdŏk-tong Changsan-dong Chŏkch'ŏn-dong Chŏnjin-dong Chungch'ŏng-dong Haean-dong Haebang 1-dong Haebang 2-dong Kaesŏn-dong Kalma-dong Kwangsŏk-tong Kwanp'ung-dong Myŏngsasimri-dong Myŏngsŏk-tong Naewŏnsan-dong Namsan-dong Panghasan-dong Pogmak-tong Poha-dong Pongch'un-dong Pongsu-dong P'yŏnghwa-dong Ryŏdo-dong Ryongha-dong Ryul-dong Sambong-dong Sang-dong Segil-dong Sinhŭng-dong Sinp'ung-dong Sinsŏng-dong Sŏg'u-dong Sŏkhyŏn-dong Songch'ŏn-dong Songhŭng-dong Sŭngri-dong Tŏksŏng-dong Tongmyŏngsan-dong T'ap-tong Wau-dong Wŏnnam 1-dong Wŏnnam 2-dong Wŏnsŏk-tong Yangji-dong Changrim-ri Chuksal-li Chungp'yŏng-ri Ch'ilbong-ri Ch'unsal-li Hyŏndong-ri Namch'ŏl-li Raksu-ri Ryongch'ŏl-li Samt'ae-ri Sangja-ri Sinsŏng-ri Susang-ri Yŏngsam-ri

Climate[edit] The city has a humid continental climate (Köppen Dwa/Dfa).

Climate data for Wonsan, North Korea

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year

Average high °C (°F) 2.0 (35.6) 4.7 (40.5) 10.0 (50) 16.5 (61.7) 20.9 (69.6) 24.6 (76.3) 26.7 (80.1) 27.3 (81.1) 23.1 (73.6) 18.9 (66) 11.2 (52.2) 4.6 (40.3) 15.8 (60.4)

Daily mean °C (°F) −1.8 (28.8) 0.4 (32.7) 5.8 (42.4) 12.1 (53.8) 16.5 (61.7) 20.8 (69.4) 23.9 (75) 24.5 (76.1) 19.7 (67.5) 14.6 (58.3) 7.3 (45.1) 1.0 (33.8) 12.1 (53.8)

Average low °C (°F) −5.5 (22.1) −3.6 (25.5) 1.7 (35.1) 7.7 (45.9) 12.2 (54) 17.1 (62.8) 20.9 (69.6) 21.4 (70.5) 16.3 (61.3) 10.5 (50.9) 3.6 (38.5) −2.6 (27.3) 8.3 (46.9)

Average precipitation mm (inches) 36.8 (1.449) 25.3 (0.996) 23.1 (0.909) 40.8 (1.606) 80.1 (3.154) 135.1 (5.319) 280.2 (11.031) 211.1 (8.311) 213.1 (8.39) 120.1 (4.728) 55.9 (2.201) 27.8 (1.094) 1,249.4 (49.189)

Average precipitation days 5.4 3.8 4.6 6.8 8.0 12.1 15.4 12.5 10.5 7.0 5.8 3.5 95.4

Mean monthly sunshine hours 204.6 206.2 232.5 234.0 235.6 207.0 173.6 176.7 198.0 223.2 192.0 192.2 2,475.6

Source #1: Weather OnLine[3]

Source #2: Wetter Spiegel Online (sunshine only)[4]


Map of Port Lazaref

Wŏnsan opened as a trade port in 1880. Its original name was Wŏnsanjin (元山津), but it was also known by the Russian name of Port Lazarev (Lazaref). Under Japanese rule (1910–45) it was called Gensan (元山). In 1914 the P'yŏngwŏn and Kyŏngwŏn railway lines were opened, connecting the city to P'yŏngyang (then known as Heijo) and Seoul
(then Keijo or Kyŏngsŏng). Thus, the city gradually developed into an eastern product distribution centre. Under the Japanese occupation, the city was heavily industrialized and served as an import point in the distribution of trade between Korea and mainland Japan.

Statues of Kim Il Sung
Kim Il Sung
and Kim Jong Il
Kim Jong Il
in Wonsan

After the Korean War
Korean War
broke out it was captured by American and South Korean troops on 10 October 1950 during their drive north. When they left ahead of the Chinese counter-attack, the city fell under Chinese control on 9 December 1950. It was heavily bombed and shelled by the United Nations
United Nations
in the Blockade of Wonsan
Blockade of Wonsan
during the Korean War.[5] According to the official US Navy history Wŏnsan was under continuous siege and bombardment by the American navy from March 1951 until July 27, 1953, making it the longest siege in modern American naval history. By the war's end the city was a vast shell.[6] City centre redevelopment[edit] As part of a planned $582 million redevelopment of the city centre, which is to be entirely demolished and rebuilt, a 5-star hotel, a 17-storey Wonsan
International Finance Centre and a $9.6m exhibition hall are expected to be built.[7] Provincial borders[edit] Wŏnsan used to be in South Hamgyŏng, but when provincial borders were redrawn in 1946, it joined the northern half of Kangwŏn (which had been split at the 38th parallel north
38th parallel north
into a zone under Soviet control in the north and one of American control in the south in 1945) and became its capital, as Kangwŏn's traditional capitals Wŏnju (1395–1895) and Ch'unch'ŏn (since 1896) both were south of the 38th parallel and south of the Military Demarcation Line that replaced the 38th parallel as a border in 1953. Economy[edit] Wŏnsan has an aquatic product processing factory, shipyard, chemistry enterprise, a cement factory, as well as the 4 June Rolling Stock Works, which is one of the DPRK's largest railway rolling stock factories.[8] Transportation[edit]

Road and rail

The district of Wŏnsan-si is served by several stations on the Kangwŏn Line of the Korean State Railway, including a branch to the port; it is also connected to the national road network, and is the terminus of the P'yŏngyang-Wŏnsan Tourist Motorway and the Wŏnsan-Kŭmgangsan Highway.


The city has the dual purpose military and civilian Wŏnsan Airport (IATA: WON) equipped with 01/19 and 15/33 dual runways. Images from Google Earth from July and August 2014 indicated that major expansion was taking place, including the construction of two new runways.[9] There is also an underground air force runway which runs through a mountain, near Wonsan.[10][11][12] North Korea's first public air show, the Wonsan
International Friendship Air Festival, was held at Wonsan Airport
Wonsan Airport
in September 2016.[13]


Wŏnsan was also the terminus of the Mangyongbong-92
ferry that operated between Wŏnsan and Niigata, which was the only direct connection between Japan
and North Korea. This service was cancelled in 2006 when Japan
banned North Korean ships.[14] Media[edit] The Korean Central Broadcasting Station maintains a 250-kilowatt mediumwave transmitter broadcasting on 882 kHz AM. Education[edit] Wŏnsan is home to Songdowŏn University, Kŭmgang University, Tonghae University, Jong Jun Thaek University of Economics, Wŏnsan University of Medicine, Jo Gun Sil University of Engineering, Wŏnsan First University of Education and Ri Su Dok University. Sports[edit] The city is home to Unp'asan Sports Club, a football (soccer) club that plays in the DPR Korea First Class Sports Group, North Korea's premier league. Tourism[edit] Wonsan
has long been a popular tourism destination for both Koreans and international visitors. Attractions include Songdowon beach, the site of the Songdowon International Children's Union Camp, which maintains exceptionally clear and clean water. Pine trees are abundant in the surrounding area, and it has been designated a national sightseeing point. The nearby Kalma Peninsula is to feature a new hotel and a bathing area.[15] Wonsan
Tourist Zone[edit] Announced in 2014, the Wonsan
Tourist Zone is to cover more than 400 square km and boasts 40 historical relics, 10 sand beaches, 680 tourist attractions, four mineral springs and several bathing resorts and natural lakes. As part of this development the Masikryong Ski Resort was built in 2016. A $123m golf course is planned outside the city.[16] Famous scenic sites near Wŏnsan include Myŏngsasimri, Lake Sijung, Chongsokchon and Mt. Kŭmgang. Temples in the area include the Sogwangsa
and Anbyon Pohyonsa Buddhist temples. The German Church is the former church of the Tŏkwŏn abbey, now used by the Wŏnsan University of Agriculture. People from Wŏnsan[edit]

Kim Ki-nam (born 1926), politician[17]

Sister cities[edit]

Sakaiminato, Tottori, Japan
(1992[18]–2006[citation needed]) Puebla, Mexico[19] Vladivostok, Russia[20] Malacca, Malaysia[citation needed]

See also[edit]

North Korea
North Korea

List of East Asian ports List of Korea-related topics Geography of North Korea Naval bases of the Korean People's Navy


^ Ryall, Julian (27 June 2013). "North Korean leader Kim Jong-un orders the creation of nation's first beach resort". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 29 June 2013.  ^ Park, Ju-Min; Pearson, James (10 October 2017). " Special
Report: In Kim Jong Un's summer palace, fun meets guns". Reuters. Retrieved 15 October 2017.  ^ "Wonsan, North Korea". Weather OnLine. Retrieved 2011-10-21.  ^ "Klimadaten". Spiegel Online. Retrieved 2012-04-11.  ^ " Wonsan
Key Seaport Before War Started; Badly Crippled by U.N. Air and Sea Attacks". New York Times. June 30, 1951. Retrieved 2009-02-17.  ^ Jon Halliday and Bruce Cumings, Korea, the Unknown War (NY: Pantheon Books, 1988), p. 157. ^ "Wonsan: Where tourism meets tanks". Reuters.  ^ Kokubu, Hayato, 将軍様の鉄道 (Shōgun-sama no Tetsudō) p. 130, 2007, Tokyo, ISBN 978-4-10-303731-6 ^ " Wonsan
airport undergoing major renovation, expansion - NK News - North Korea
North Korea
News". 19 January 2015.  ^ Mizokami, Kyle. "North Korea's Secret Strategy in a War with America: Go Underground". The National Interest.  ^ "North Korea's Thunderbird Runways". 19 May 2008.  ^ "North Korea's Underground Bond-Villain Air Base Nears Completion". freekorea.us.  ^ North Korea
North Korea
shows off fighter jets at its first international air show September 26, 2016 International Business Times Retrieved February 3, 2017 ^ " Ferry
ban turns tide on Korean smuggling". The Washington Times. 2006-10-16. Retrieved 2015-04-15.  ^ YOUNG PIONEER TOURS! The Budget North Korea
North Korea
Tour Operator https://web.archive.org/web/20140108175337/http://www.youngpioneertours.com/tour/august-mass-games-tour/. Archived from the original on 8 January 2014.  Missing or empty title= (help) ^ Park, Ju-min; Pearson, James. "In Kim Jong Un's summer retreat, fun meets guns". Reuters.  ^ "Kim Ki Nam". 5 October 2010.  ^ Vyas, Utpal (2010). Soft Power in Japan- China
Relations: State, Sub-state and Non-state Relations. Oxon: Routledge. p. 107. ISBN 978-1-136-85896-3.  ^ "Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores - Gobierno - gob.mx" (PDF). www.sre.gob.mx.  ^ " Kim Jong Il
Kim Jong Il
Holds Third Summit Talks with Putin during Tour of Far Eastern Region of Russia". Archived from the original on 17 August 2016. 

Further reading[edit]

Dormels, Rainer. North Korea's Cities: Industrial facilities, internal structures and typification. Jimoondang, 2014. ISBN 978-89-6297-167-5 Introduction to Investment Projects in Wonsan-Mt. Kumgang International Tourist Zone, Wonsan
Zone Development Corporation. Pyongyang, 2016.

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Wonsan.

Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Wonsan.

North Korea
North Korea
Uncovered, ( North Korea
North Korea
Google Earth) a Google Earth map of Wonsan's cultural, economic, political, military infrastructure, and tourist locations and facilities. The Wŏnsan Operation, October 1950 - Korean War
Korean War
amphibious assault ordered by General Douglas MacArthur Google Earth images of Wŏnsan[permanent dead link], including one of Kim Jong Il's palaces, a military airfield, and the ferry Mangyongbong-92 nk.joins.com/map/view.asp?idx=i141.htm City profile of Wonsan Wonsan
at Curlie (based on DMOZ)

v t e

Cities in North Korea

Directly governed city


Cities with special status

Rason Nampo Kaesong

Provincial capitals

Chongjin Haeju Hamhung Hyesan Kanggye Pyongsong Sariwon Sinuiju Wonsan

Other cities

Anju Chongju Hoeryong Huichon Kaechon Kimchaek Kusong Manpo Munchon Sinpo Songnim Sunchon Tanchon Tokchon

v t e

Kangwŏn Province




Munch'ŏn Wŏnsan


Anbyŏn Ch'angdo Ch'ŏrwŏn Ch'ŏnnae Hoeyang Ich'ŏn Kimhwa Kosan Kosŏng Kŭmgang (Mount Kŭmgang Tourist Region) P'an'gyo Pŏptong P'yŏnggang Sep'o T'ongch'ŏn

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 25787